The characters given life by Slug on Atmosphere's new album have unenviable situations, but they're not all painting that shit gold (whatever that means). Vagrants, single parents and dope-addled fiends, they all work, fuck and wallow in their misery, giving the emotional indie rapper a chance to traffic in someone else's self-righteousness and self-loathing for a change. That said, the album feels just as personal as Atmosphere's previous works while showcasing a bit of artistic evolution. Producer Ant chops up bass, guitar and synth parts that were recorded under his direction, which results in Gold feeling less like the boilerplate, sample-driven indie-rap albums Atmosphere has threatened to retire on and more like a groundbreaking work. Though pockmarked by cliches and listless tracks like "Guarantees" and "Like the Rest of Us," it nonetheless hints at good things to come for Slug and Ant, provided they continue in this style.


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